Friday, December 27, 2013

Traditional Publication as likely as a Zombie Apocalypse?

We've taken the leap -- Larry and I are plummeting side by side wearing rose-colored parachutes into self-publication.

It didn't take long for me to become frustrated with the traditional trying-to-get-published process, query letters that didn't produce manuscript requests, and then the agents who actually accepted a portion of a manuscript along with the query...well...haven't heard from them, either.

Using the plural here, I'm giving the impression we've sent bunches of queries, but that's only because I don't want to admit to having submitted to only three. All those hours, days, weeks of research, and I submitted as many queries as I've had pedicures. Please don't look at my feet. 

What are the odds of a novelist publishing traditionally? As good as getting struck by lightning? Winning the lotto? Dancing on the lawn with the winning lotto ticket WHILE getting struck by lightning? Turns out, in traditional publishing, only 1-2% of manuscripts are picked up, so the upside is that the odds are slightly better than sizzling like bacon in your back yard. (I apologize that I don't have a link here supporting my claim of 1-2%, but I lost the danged thing after I wrote the blog!)

In my post-query-research frustrated funk, I began reading more heavily for escape, devouring books on Kindle, most of which I downloaded because they were free. I'm poor folk, that's just the simple fact of it. I'd love to spend buckets of cash on every zombie apocalypse novel out there, but you can't spend what you don't have. 

It didn't take long before I realized that most of the free books online fall primarily into two categories: 1) so old they're public domain, or 2) so young they're indies.  Somewhere along the way, I thought, "Hmmmm. Wonder if we could do that, put our book on Amazon for Kindle?" The question then was how?

So, I've spend the last few months reading about self-publication and listening to webcasts, and those messages have been far more inspiring than those of traditional publishing. The more I learned, the more I thought, "Yeah, we could do that. It certainly beats leaving our novel on my hard drive until my computer crashes." We might not make any money, but is that really the point? Is making money the reason we wrote this book?

No, it's not. Larry and I will be far more gratified by chuckling readers than being barraged by bales of money. Our goal, all along, has been to entertain. When I asked Larry about self-publishing, he said, "I trust you." So pulling him over the cliff with me is his fault? I can live with that. 

As an aside, I also I feel the need to prove, if only to myself, that all the time (years) and energy (boat-loads) Larry and I spent on this particular project hasn't been a waste. 

How many belly laughs will convince me I'm not a hank? Did I say we weren't in it for the money? Did I say I was poor folk?

I would like to print a retraction: I'm not a hack, and I want to be awash in waves of money so I can prepare for the zombie apocalypse by setting up a bug out location and appearing on Doomsday Preppers. Now THAT would be gratification.